Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Recommended Reading: Zenith Radio History

Lt. Commander Eugene F. MacDonald was one of the founders of Zenith Radio, and served as the company's President until his death. He was also a good friend of Powel Crosley, Jr. The two carried on good-natured competitions (as when Zenith brought out the world's largest radio, only to be one-upped by Crosley's WLW Model Super Power Radio Receiver). Like Powel Crosley, MacDonald was a yachtsman. He was a frequent guest at Crosley's Florida Sea Gate mansion, and owned an island near Crosley's Nissaki on the Canadian shore of Lake Huron.

MacDonald was also an adventurer, backing the Macmillan/Byrd polar expedition (and providing radio support) and participating in underwater archaeology in the Great Lakes. In addition to these interests, MacDonald was deeply interested in the possibility of mental telepathy and other parapsychological phenomena, and sponsored a national research program via radio broadcasts, in cooperation with Dr. J.B. Rhine.

As might be expected, Eugene F. MacDonald would make an interesting subject for a biography. Radio historians Harold N. Cones and John H. Bryant have taken on MacDonald’s story, in part, in Zenith Radio: The Early Years: 1919-1935. (This happens to be the period of Crosley's ... Zenith, so to speak.) If you enjoyed CROSLEY, you’ll want to add this book to your library, because the two men's stories intersect and because MacDonald is fascinating in his own right. Recommended.
--Mike http://www.michaelabanks.com

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